Year of the Dragon King

Year of the Dragon King Slot Review

Slot Provider: Pragmatic Play

RTP: 96.08% | Variance: Very High | Maximum Win: 5,000x

Our Score: 8.2

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WHY YOU CAN TRUST THIS REVIEW: The information and opinions on this page are the result of an comprehensive process of information gathering and live game testing by the gambling experts who work at Find out more here.

About Year of the Dragon King

Reviewed by:

Published Date: 20th December 2023

How We Review Slot Games

We test and rate all slot games across 5 criteria, assigning a score out of 10 for each and an overall score that is an average of the 5. To build an accurate assessment of each game we gather information from the supplier and play in real play or demo mode. Find out more.

Year of the Dragon King is a 5 reel Oriental slot from Pragmatic Play with a very high variance. A special bonus round is triggered when all 5 reels light up in green, red or blue. Then a feature plays out on between 1 and 5 mini reels, each with one payline, 3 reels and a progressive multiplier starting at up to 5x and growing by up to 5x with each win. The reels keep spinning, paying out for winning combinations, but lock after a non winning spin. Once all reels lock, the round ends.

Spins start from 20p and the top payout is 5,000x. The game arrives on 15th January 2024. You can find more January releases from Pragmatic Play here.

Year of the Dragon King Game Information

  • RTP: 96.08% | 95.08% | 94.08%
  • Variance: Very High
  • Maximum Win: 5,000x
  • Progressive Jackpot: No
  • Reels: 5
  • Rows: 3
  • Paylines: 20
  • Minimum Stake: £0.20
  • Theme: Oriental
  • Features: Wilds, Mini Reels, Progressive Multipliers

Testing Notes: Here’s What Happened When We Played Year of the Dragon King

IMPORTANT: To give you an accurate assessment of the games we review our writers play 200 spins. Whilst this is a useful tool to help us review games and to give an example of what might happen when you play, keep in mind that 200 spins is only a very small sample and cannot be used to accurately predict what might happen over another 200 spins. The outcome of all slots play is always random.

Boom Or Bust? Our Session By The Numbers

I played 300 spins on Year of the Dragon King on Pragmatic Play’s test server prior to release to test the game. This is what happened.

  • Stake Size: $1
  • Start balance: $100,000
  • End balance: $99,796
  • Hit Rate: 15.6% (27 winning spins in 300)
  • Biggest Win: 25x
  • Free Spins Round: 0
  • Session Time: 17 minutes 6 seconds

I extended this test session to 300 spins (normally 200 is enough) to try to trigger that bonus but was unable to. That is a strong indicator of the high volatility of the game. The other is the low hit rate – just 15.6% of spins produced a winning outcome. Not much happens in the base game as it is light on features. The biggest win I scored was a 25x shown in the screenshot below. In no uncertain terms this is a very high variance game so beware.

25x Win in Year of the Dragon King
A 25x win in testing from 5 cookies

What We Liked

  • Super volatile for fans of high risk - high reward slots
  • 5 Cookies on a line wins you 25x
  • Super-powerful 5x multipliers in the bonus round
  • Fun Oriental theme with luck and prosperity symbols
  • Simple gameplay is easy to follow

What We Didn't like

  • Will be too volatile for many players
  • Bonus round didn't trigger in 300 spins in testing

Year of the Dragon King Review Scores

  • Theme and Design 8
  • RTP and Variance 8
  • Maximum Win 7
  • Symbols and Paytable 9
  • Features and Gameplay 9

What Our Reviewer Says ...

"One for high risk- high reward slots fans who like chasing the big win moments. Extreme volatility and not much to talk about until the bonus round kicks in!"

Overall Score: 8.2

Theme & Design

Our Score 8

A Mountaintop Setting For A Classic Oriental Slot 

Year of the Dragon King is an Oriental-themed slot set up in an epic mountainscape with orange skies, skidding clouds and forests providing the backdrop to a floating reel set that is packed with Chinese-style lettering, fortune cookies and red lanterns. A quick bit of research tells us that those red lanterns are symbols of prosperity, fitting for a high variance slot. It’s a nice-looking game, backed by a suitably Oriental soundtrack and anyone who enjoys Chinese-luck style slots will be at home here.

Year of the Dragon King by Pragmatic Play
Year of the Dragon King – epic mountain setting for a classic high risk Oriental slot

RTP and Variance

Our Score 8

What is RTP?

RTP (Return to Player) refers to the amount a game will pay out in cash prizes expressed as a percentage of all the money wagered on that game. For example, a 96% RTP means a game will pay out £96 for every £100 wagered. This is an average number and will vary from one session to the next.  Read more here.

What is Variance?

Variance refers to how far a game will deviate from its RTP over time. High variance games deviate a lot and produce uneven win distributions and unexpected windfalls. Low variance games provide a more stable and even distribution of wins. Read more here.

Year of the Dragon King has three available RTP settings – 96.08%, 95.08% or 94.08%. It will be at your slot sites’ discretion which rate they choose for this game. In our testing we have found that MrQ always run games at the optimum available RTP levels so I recommend playing this slot there. At other sites you can check the RTP by hitting the ‘I’ button in the bottom left of the reel set.

This is rated as a ‘very high’ variance game by Pragmatic Play on the game information sheet provided to operators, so expect a volatile gaming experience – Year of the Dragon King can blow hot and cold with less frequent wins than other slots but sometimes bigger wins when they do drop.

Maximum Win

Our Score 7

What Is Maximum Win?

Maximum win refers to the maximum amount a player can win from one spin. It is expressed as a multiple of the stake. For example, where the maximum win is 100,000x, from a £1 stake, the maximum win would be £100,000.  

The top payout available on one spin is 5,000x. That is underwhelming and very typical for Pragmatic Play slots. It is not a blockbuster jackpot – you will find much better in our list of the highest paying slots.

Symbols and Paytable

Our Score 9

Year of the Dragon King plays on a 5 reel and 3 row reel set with 20 paylines in play on all spins in the base game. You will need to land 3 or more identical symbols across a line from left to right to trigger a win, starting at the left-most reel.

Year of the Dragon King Paytable
The paytable with 25x for 5 cookies

There is some good value in the paytable with 7 symbols in all. They are the cards – Jack, Queen, King and Ace – the lanterns and the fortune cookies. These are valued at from 0.5x for 3 Jacks up to 25x for 5 cookies.

Look out for the Wild too which will substitute for any other symbol to complete a payline AND has it’s own values of 5x, 10x or 25x for 3, 4 or 5 on a payline.

Features and Gameplay

Our Score 9

This game is simple but it has a unique and fun bonus feature that can trigger at any time. You will notice as you spin that each reel is lit up in green, red or blue. The color changes on each spin but if ALL 5 reels display the same color then the bonus is triggered.

Play On Up To 5 Mini Reels

When this happens the standard reels disappear to be replaced by between 1 and 5 mini reels. The number of reels is random too.

Reels have different colors in Year of the Dragon King
Green and blue reels in testing. All reels need to be the same color to trigger the bonus

These reels are different to the main reel set from the base game. They have 3 reels and only ONE payline and display blanks and three pay symbols. There is a single red 8 which pays 20x for 3 on the line, a yellow 8 that pays 5x for 3 on the line and a blue 8 that pays 2x for 3 on the line. Landing a combination of the three 8s gets you a 1x payout.

Once the round starts each mini reel will spin. If you score a win it re-spins. If not, it locks. Once all displayed reels are locked, then the round ends.

Bonus Round Progressive Multiplier

But that’s not all. You will also get a multiplier for the round whose value is determined by the color of the reels on the triggering spin.

If your reels were all GREEN when the bonus round tiggered, you get a 1x multiplier for each mini reel. Every winning spin on each reel will increases it’s multiplier by 1x.

If your reels were all BLUE when the bonus round tiggered, you get a 2x multiplier for each mini reel. Every winning spin on each reel will increases it’s multiplier by 2x.

But this is the one you really want … if your reels were all RED when the bonus round tiggered, you get a 5x multiplier for each mini reel. Every winning spin on each reel will increases it’s multiplier by 5x.

The Final Verdict

A Classic Oriental Slot With Symbols Of Prosperity

Year of the Dragon King is a game that will suit pure gamblers who just like to chase that hit of a big win sequence and don’t want all the extra base game features that get in the way. This one is all about waiting for the bonus round to drop and its configuration, particularly when all reels are red on the triggering spin and your multipliers go up by 5x, suggests this will on occasion produce some thrilling wins. However, as my test spins showed, that is all offset by the grind of trying to get there. So, one for high risk for high rewards slots players and those who enjoy the Oriental stylings with their gameplay.

Useful Tips When Playing Year of the Dragon King

Remember, online slots are games of chance, there is NO strategy that can improve your odds of winning. However, reading our review and following these tips will help you get the most out of your time playing this slot game.

1. Chose A Site Where The RTP Is At The Maximum

To give yourself the best chance of winning play at a site where the RTP setting is 96.08%. Some slot sites will run at a lower setting, so beware. You can check the RTP by hitting the ‘i’ link at the bottom of the game screen.

2. Just Keep Your Eyes On The Reel Colors

There is little to look at in the base game apart from the reel colors. You want them all to be the same to get into that elusive bonus round. And ideally, you want them all to be red!

3. Pick A Low Stake

You can play this game from 20p per spin and that is advisable if you want your balance to last. With just a 15% hit rate in testing and no sign of the bonus round it’s clear this slot will eat your funds fast on most occasions.

4. Play At Our Recommended, Licensed UK Slot Sites

We only recommend sites that have been licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. These are safe, fair and secure because they operate under strict UK law and the games are all tested by 3rd party testing houses. Never play at unlicensed sites.

Who Made Year of the Dragon King?

  • Name: Pragmatic Play
  • Established: 2015
  • UK License: Remote 046683-R-325951-014
  • Total Games: 500 +
  • Known For: Wide range of themes and styles, live casino including gameshow formats, and bingo
  • Popular Slots: Fruit Party, Dog House Megaways, Big Bass Bonanza, Release the Kraken
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